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Afghan Minister Calls for Negotiations Between TTP and Islamabad

Afghan Minister Calls for Negotiations Between TTP and Islamabad

A senior Afghan Taliban leader, Muhammad Nabi Omari, deputy interior minister of the interim Taliban government, publicly urged the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Islamabad to engage in peace negotiations, acknowledging that the TTP’s activities in Pakistan were drawing international scrutiny towards Afghanistan. Speaking at an iftar gathering in Khost town, Omari emphasized the need for the Pakistani government and the TTP to come together and resolve their differences through dialogue.

While the Afghan Taliban have previously encouraged talks between Pakistan and the TTP privately, this marks the first instance of a senior figure addressing the issue publicly. Omari’s remarks not only called for direct engagement between Islamabad and the TTP but also criticized the militant group.

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Efforts by the Afghan interim regime to mediate talks between Pakistan and the TTP have previously failed, leading to accusations from Islamabad that Kabul harbors militants. The Afghan Taliban have denied claims that the TTP operates from Afghan soil and have urged Pakistan to address its internal security concerns internally.

Omari’s comments come amid tensions between Pakistan and Afghanistan, particularly following Pakistani airstrikes in retaliation for a suicide bombing in North Waziristan. He emphasized the devastation caused by war and revolution, urging both Pakistan and the TTP to recognize the futility of prolonged conflict.

While Omari denied the presence of Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, he did not address the TTP’s presence in the country. He cautioned both sides against believing they could achieve victory through war, citing the Afghan Taliban’s experience and emphasizing the importance of popular support. However, Omari suggested that the TTP might not enjoy widespread support among the Pakistani population and highlighted the impact of conflict escalation in Pakistan on Afghanistan. It remains unclear what prompted such a public statement on a sensitive issue.

Pakistan’s stance has been to refrain from direct talks with the TTP, citing the Doha agreement’s terms requiring action against the outfit by the Afghan interim regime. Additionally, Pakistan reportedly plans to share evidence of TTP involvement in the killing of Chinese workers in Besham with Beijing, potentially straining relations between Afghanistan and China, both of which have significant diplomatic ties.